The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Caramelized Onion with 4 Cheeses- Take 2

Danni3ll3's picture

Caramelized Onion with 4 Cheeses- Take 2

This is baking batch #2 of the Xmas sourdough orders. 


I want to thank Wendy (Lazy Loafer) for outlining her method of bulk fermentation in the fridge and proofing/baking the next morning in her posts as I used this for the first time to accommodate my schedule. 



Makes 3 loaves


696 g unbleached flour

4 g vital wheat gluten 

250 g high extraction red fife flour (I milled 285 g of red fife berries and sifted it. Save the bran for the levain)

50 g buckwheat flour (I used 50 g of buckwheat groats and milled them)

1 tbsp of dried Italian herbs

725 g water

150 g of shredded 4 cheese mix (parmesan, Asiago, provolone and mozzarella)

100 g caramelized onions

36 g full fat plain yogurt

20 g salt

200 g levain (explanation below)

Plus high extraction whole wheat flour (local Brûlé Creek partially sifted flour) for levain


The morning before:

  1. Take 15 g of starter and add 15 g of high extraction wheat flour and 15 g of water. Let sit for 12 hours.

The night before:

  1. In a tub, put in the unbleached flour, the bread flour, the high extraction red fife flour, the buckwheat flour and the Italian herbs. Cover and reserve for the next morning.
  2. Use the bran from the red fife as well as some high extraction whole wheat flour to equal 30 g. Add this and 30 g of water to the levain. Let sit overnight.
  3. Thaw the caramelized onions if you have some frozen in advance. (Otherwise, slice one large onion and caramelize slowly on the stove with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a bit of butter as well as a pinch of salt.) Cover and reserve.

Dough making day:

  1. Very early in the morning, feed the levain 60 g each of high extraction whole wheat flour and water. This doubled in 5 hours at room temperature (73F). 
  2. About 2 hours before the levain is ready, add the water, mix well and let sit (autolyse) until the levain is ready.
  3. Add the caramelized onions, the shredded cheeses, the yogurt, the levain and the salt to the dough. Mix well and let rest about 30 minutes.
  4. Do three sets of French slaps and folds at 30 minutes intervals. The first set has 75 slaps, the second set has 40 slaps and the last set has 10 slaps. Continuing on 30 minute intervals, do another 3 sets of folds. Then I had to go out do the dough took a trip to the fridge. By the time I got back home, it was after midnight and the dough had been in the fridge 5 hours. So I decided to take a page out of Wendy’s book and leave it in the fridge for the remainder of the night to finish bulk fermentation. 

Baking Day:

  1. In the morning, tip the dough out on a bare counter, sprinkle the top with flour and divided it into portions of ~745 g. Round out the portions into rounds with a dough scraper and let rest 30 minutes on the counter. 
  2. Do a final shape by flouring the rounds and flipping the rounds over on a lightly floured counter. Gently stretch the dough out into a circle. Pull and fold the third of the dough closest to you over the middle. Pull the right side and fold over the middle and do the same to the left. Fold the top end to the center. Finally stretch the two top corners and fold over each other in the middle and continue stitching the rest of the loaf. Roll the bottom of the dough away from you until the seam is underneath the dough. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, doing this on all sides of the dough to round it off. Finally spin the dough to make a nice tight boule.
  3. Place the dough seam side down in rice floured bannetons, cover, and proof on the counter for not quite an hour and a half. Total time from the dough leaving the fridge and hitting the oven was just under two hours. 
  4. Forty-five minutes to an hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 475F with the Dutch ovens inside. Turn out the dough seam side up onto a wide strip of parchment paper and carefully place the dough inside the pots. 
  5. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 450 F for 30 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 17 minutes. Internal temperature should be 208F or more.


The loaves are a bit misshapen due to the parchment paper. I have to figure that one out. 



pul's picture

So many options to get nice loaves.

I also like to do the bulk fermentation in the fridge when the schedule is tight. My impression is that the risk of over-proofing after shaping is reduced if the bulk fermentation is done in the fridge, especially during the summer when my fridge temperature is a bit warmer.

Enjoy the baking.

Danni3ll3's picture

so here is the crumb shot. 

dabrownman's picture

and happy camper customers!  That is some nice crust and crumb for sure.  Bulk retard works way netter than shaped retards if you have the the to proof the next morning,  No worries of over proofing while you sleep!  This one has to be tasty with all the cheese and the caramelized onions.  Ian would be proud!

Merry Christmans and happy baking